June 5, 2013
A few decades before Al Gore inconvenienced us with An Inconvenient Truth, the concept of sustainability had some very different connotations. In the 1970s and 80s, society grew interested in sustaining not the planet Earth in itself, but Earth’s environment and the living conditions in which humans had, as far as we know, thrived for centuries. The idea of preserving and replicating this Eden, whether on Earth, on another planet, or suspended in outer space, inspired a wealth of research along with some fantastical design proposals for Martian settlements and space colonies.
Most of these schemes remain unrealized, existing only in our minds and in science fiction novels. One experiment did, however, achieve three-dimensional form: Biosphere 2, as it is known, is a 3.14-acre glass enclosure in Oracle, Arizona envisioned, built, and inhabited for two years in the early 1990s by a group of free-thinking scientists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers determined to test the limits of artificial living systems. A new video released by The Avant/Garde Diaries revisits the project’s extraordinary glass architecture as well as the ideas, criticisms, and analyses surrounding this early effort to guarantee mankind’s future through self-sustaining, man-made colonies. Click through for the video and more.